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10 ways to onboard and serve customers faster and better in 2021

10 minutes

In the early 2000s, something amazing happened that changed the world forever - the very first platform that enabled opening deposit accounts online was released. 


Fast forward to 2021, and it is difficult to find a bank not already offering online or mobile checking accounts. The share of financial institutions offering digital account opening has reached 82% for online and 38% for mobile channels


Today, customer onboarding has developed far beyond account openings. It is applied to virtually any service in the financial industry, from registering to an insurance plan, applying for a loan, opening a checking account, or getting a credit card.


While it’s good news that most financial institutions offer online account opening and at least some rudimentary cross-selling capabilities, digital applications in the financial sector are notoriously full of friction, and abandonment rates are high. 


Simply having a digital capability might no longer be enough, as high abandonment and low engagement rates show.  Financial service organizations must align their offerings to customer expectations when it comes to user experience or risks losing those customers altogether. 


Financial institutions must find ways to embed their services seamlessly into the digital world, making themselves more accessible and inclusive for potential customers.


Prioritizing customer experience at every step of the journey

We can identify four distinct stages in the customer journey, and each builds on the other. To succeed in the digital world, we must treat the journey as a whole and deliver exceptional service at


  • Customer acquisition 
  • Welcoming customers
  • Onboarding and engaging
  • Cross-selling

 

Financial institutions must remove friction and build exceptional experiences at all four stages to solidify and deepen customer relationships.


How to improve your digital customer journey: from onboarding to cross-selling

Application process


Offer a multi-channel, continuous experience

Customers do not view interactions with your business in isolation. Every communication is a part of a continuous journey, not a collection of disconnected experiences. It is of crucial importance to deliver a top-notch brand experience, no matter the stage of the journey or the channel: your company website, a mobile app, email marketing, SMS, call-center, or in-person experience in your branch.


Educate new customers on what actions they need to take, and then guide them through a seamless journey that takes them through the entire process step by step.


A fast and seamless application process is a must

70% to 90% of applicants who clicked ‘apply now’ will abandon the process before their applications are completed.


The biggest reason for high abandonment rates? The lengthy application processes. If you think potential customers will invest more than ten minutes to opening an account online, think again.


According to DBR, online applications that take ten minutes or longer to complete negatively affect account openings by as much as 40%. This means that if your application process has yielded 6,000 customers, it might have opened 10,000 if friction wasn’t an issue.


Cut down your process to the bare minimum you require to get the customer started on the journey, and don’t overwhelm them early on with lengthy applications.


Eliminate extra steps

Too often, institutions simply provide a PDF form and ask customers to complete it and then send it via email or attachment back to them. This may have been fine 20 years ago, but in 2021 this will no longer work.


Financial institutions must eliminate PDF forms and invest in technology that enables people to switch complete the application process without interruptions, such as digital journeys with eSignatures that allow the customer to complete the entire process digitally in one sitting.

Onboarding process

Assist your customers and help them use your service

Technology is all well and good, but you can’t leave the less technology-oriented customers behind. 


One example would be the rapid deployment of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. As healthcare providers were scrambling to make those platforms available, they often failed to reach the people they’re supposed to reach.


Starting with surveys and screenings, it is crucial to identify who would benefit from using your digital service and determine how much help they’d need adapting to the technology. 


For example, giving patients a quick refresher on how to use that app or device as a part of the digital experience could go a long way toward improved and continued engagement and, in the long run, better outcomes.


Balance self-service and support

Self-service portals are an excellent way to serve and onboard the modern customer; however, if the support is not readily available in a single click, the customer can quickly get frustrated and abandon the virtual onboarding experience altogether. 


It is crucial to integrate support workflows into any type of digital customer journey so that the customer can have their questions answered in real-time instead of abandoning the application altogether.


Personalize experiences

Customers are well aware that digital channels collect a lot of personal information about them, including behavioral data, their location, and any information they have may affect input on any of your forms. They expect a business to use this information to improve and personalize their experience. 


To do that, you must ensure not simply to hoard data but to use it wisely.


One way to leverage the data you have is to personalize your messages. Basic online pop-up messages, emails, and SMS messages are not enough. Personalize your messages and point your customers towards relevant step-by-step guides and tools that make onboarding tasks easier.


Engage with your customers 


Retarget abandoned applications


Re-engaging a consumer who already expressed initial interest is much easier than attracting someone new. That is why retargeting abandoned applicants who left your journey without completing it pays enormous dividends. 


Capture and save applicants’ email addresses or mobile numbers as quickly as possible in your digital journey. If you do that, you can follow up with email and SMS reminders that motivate abandoned applicants to come back and complete the onboarding process.

Guide new customers

If a new account opener doesn’t start using their account in the first 90 days, they probably never will.


It is not enough simply to onboard the customer; the customer must be reminded to start using their account immediately. Communicate with your customer early and often, offering tools and tips to make things easier.


After the application journey, make sure to enroll new customers in a well thought through, personalized onboarding experience that will guide them through the entire process, that will guide them through the following actions they need to take, such as:


  • Switching direct deposits
  • Activating the new debit card
  • Updating automatic payments
  • Learning about a rewards program


Cross-sell

Deliver personalized offers

Banks and credit unions often miss cross-selling opportunities by not delivering proactive and personalized offers. One-third of banking customers report going to competing institutions for additional services.


It is crucial to continuously educate customers and members on what you offer. 


Use data to anticipate the needs

While you can frequently ask customers about their needs, it’s more effective if you can identify when a new need arises. 


Leverage behavioral data you collect and third-party data to identify when customers begin shopping around for a financially related need.


Create end-to-end digital journeys: from onboarding to cross-selling

Deeper relationships with customers throughout the entire digital customer journey from application to cross-selling require a platform that supports engaging, personalized journeys at every step of the way. 


EasySend is a no-code platform that empowers financial institutions to craft and launch digital journeys quickly and efficiently, at every stage of the journey. From a frictionless application process that enables customers to complete the application without leaving the app, to instant welcomes for new customers and members, to frictionless adoption of account-related services and consistent, personalized communication, EasySend has got you covered.

Dore Dadon

Dore Dadon is the Marketing and PR Manager at EasySend. She is the primary contact for all external communications and works hard to increase EasySend's brand awareness while also covering all the latest InsurTech and digital customer experience trends.